Leash Training Your Puppy

It’s funny, but many dog owners don’t think about leash training their puppies. And by leash training, I don't mean teaching your dog to heel like a show dog, but simply getting them to accept being on a leash without having a full-blown panic attack. Picture this: one day, while you’re minding your own business, someone sneaks up and ties a rope to your foot. Naturally, you'd be confused, try to get it off, and probably stress out a bit. Puppies who've never been on a leash go through the same thing—they feel confined and instinctively try to get away by pulling or biting at the leash. So, what's the solution? How do we make this transition easier and less stressful for our furry friends?

Letting Your Puppy Learn on Their Own

There are many ways to approach this, but I've found that letting the dog learn on their own is often the easiest and least stressful method. When I raised my puppy, the first thing I did was get a flat nylon collar that could be adjusted to fit loosely around her neck. Then, I found an old leash that I didn’t mind if she chewed on or dragged through the mud. If you don't have an old leash, a six-foot piece of rope will do just fine.

Now that I had my collar and leash, I simply put the collar on my puppy, attached the leash, and let her roam freely without holding onto the leash. It's crucial never to leave the puppy alone while dragging the leash around for safety reasons. You might be scratching your head, thinking that I haven’t really done anything besides put a leash on my dog and let her drag it around. But remember, it’s important to see things from a dog's point of view. While it might seem like the dog isn't learning anything, in reality, she's getting used to the leash and building an acceptance of it.

The Puppy’s Learning Process

Often in dog training, we find that if a dog can learn something on their own, whether it's a good or bad habit, they tend to learn it faster and without holding resentment towards their handler. Here, we see the same principle at work. As the puppy goes about her business, she’s constantly stepping on the leash, feeling its weight, and occasionally getting it caught on things. These experiences help the puppy accept and understand the leash, and all we have to do is watch.

Teaching Your Puppy to Accept the Leash

Now it’s time to teach the puppy that it's okay for us to lead them around on the leash. Before we attempt a walk, it's essential to have some treats on hand. We're still not teaching the formal heel command but simply how to walk on a leash and accept it. With your puppy on a leash attached to a nylon collar, gently take them for a slow walk around your house or yard. At first, follow your puppy's lead. This helps them accept you holding the leash and get comfortable with it. After a few minutes, slowly tighten up on the leash, allowing your puppy to pull against it. If your puppy stops and looks at you or just stops pulling, treat and praise them for not fighting the leash. Continue walking and rewarding your puppy for not pulling on the leash. Once they’ve accepted the leash around your house and yard, try taking them to different locations until they’re comfortable with it.

Special Note from Prodogz Dog Training

Special Note from Prodogz Dog Training: Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed our free training blog. While you're here, feel free to browse the rest of our website and learn more about how to train your puppy. Prodogz Dog Training is your one-stop dog training facility for positive reinforcement dog training in Medford. Please visit our Schedule page to see when our next basic obedience class is scheduled to start or call Jason at 541-608-2857 to schedule your one-on-one private training session with you and your dog. Happy Training!